The title given to those who kept order in the Shire, somewhat akin to a 'police force'. Normally few in number, the Shirriffs were greatly increased during the time of the War of the Ring.
An Anglo-Saxon England, a gerefa was a royal representative or official, and so a scirgerefa was the representative of the King within a shire. This word survives into modern English, though more usually spelt 'sheriff', and with a considerably modified meaning. Perhaps the best known historical example is the Sheriff of Nottingham in the stories of Robin Hood: his title made him the administrator of the shire of Nottingham under the King of England.
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